Israel to close main crossing with Gaza over flying firebombs


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel will close the main crossing between Israel and Gaza in response to repeated arson attacks from incendiary kites and balloons coming from the coastal strip.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the decision announced Monday to close the Kerem Shalom crossing was taken in agreement with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Kerem Shalom is the only crossing for commercial goods and the main crossing for humanitarian aid between Israel and Gaza.

On Monday, Netanyahu called the closing “a significant step.”

“There will be additional steps,” he told the Knesset. “I will not go into details.”

Humanitarian aid, especially food and medicine, would still be allowed into Gaza through the crossing, but will require special permission.

Palestinian protesters and rioters have been gathering at the border with Israel since mid-March as part of the so-called March of Return. The use of incendiary objects as a tactic began with the border protests.

Thousands of acres of farming land and natural forest have been consumed in the flames sparked by the flying firebombs. At least 17 fires were sparked on Sunday alone from the kites and balloons.